Oxford Martin School academics contribute to new report into future ocean resources

22 June 2017

© Alex Rogers

A Royal Society working group, chaired by Oxford Martin Senior Fellow Professor Gideon Henderson, has launched a report into new types of ocean resources.

The report, titled Future ocean resources, metal-rich minerals and genetics, considers the drivers, potential, and wider consequences of utilising the oceans’ genetic and mineral resources.

Discussing the outcomes of the report, Professor Henderson said “Mineral deposits found on the deep-sea floor could provide significant amounts of the metals needed by society, including rarer elements required by new green tech industries. Effectively extracting these resources could also strengthen our ability to devise new products from marine species such as drugs and dietary supplements. The ocean is thought to offer huge potential for such genetic resources, partly due to the adaptations that species have made to extreme environments found in the oceans"

"Extraction of these metals may cause substantial change to the deep-sea environment; a poorly understood environment" Professor Henderson warns, "We will need to think carefully about the environment, and the interaction of these two new classes of ocean resources, as we ramp up pursuit of their potential.”

Professor Catherine Redgwell, Co-Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Sustainable Oceans, was also a member of the working group, which included academics at a number of UK universities, and representatives from environmental bodies.

The report was released last week in Singapore, at the Royal Society's 2017 Commonwealth Science Conference, which brought together over 450 scientists from 40 different states to celebrate 'excellence in science' across the Commonwealth.